Skip to content

Home / Resources / Why Are Christians So Judgmental?

Why Are Christians So Judgmental?

Written by Derek Joseph on

According to Barna, 87 percent of unchurched millennials think that Christians are judgmental.

We need to face this fact: people think we’re judgmental. Actually, most people think we’re judgmental. 

There are many ways we could respond to that news. We could be defensive. We could seek to accommodate other peoples’ expectations to make ourselves seem acceptable to them. We could blame our reputation on the media or other Christians who “aren’t as good” as us. We could even argue that the world is being judgmental for declaring us judgmental. 

Can I suggest that none of those options are wise or holy? Instead, I encourage us to respond in four ways that demonstrate an obedience to God in light of the reality that most unbelievers think we’re judgmental. 

1. Let’s Examine Ourselves

Jesus commanded, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Jesus did not say this to his disciples because they weren’t naturally judgmental. It’s because they, and we, are. The good news is that Jesus told us how to repent. If we notice someone else’s sin, we should respond by searching for our own. It should be a reflex. We should assume, when we see someone’s “speck,” that we have a “log” (Matt. 7:1-5). We should go to our loving God to take care of our guilt and sin problem. 

In preparation to write this article, I asked a good number of non-Christians to define “judgmental.” I had some great conversations, by the way. You should try it. 

In sum, people told me that being judgmental meant being verbally unkind, being self-righteous, showing partiality, being unsympathetic, and being tribal. 

All of those things are sinful, and while we can’t totally control how someone perceives us, we are commanded to be kind and to seek to be perceived that way (Eph. 4:29; 1 Cor. 13:4-5; Prov. 12:18). 

So, let’s examine ourselves for sins.

2. Let’s Confess our Sins

The Lord taught us to pray, “Forgive us our debts.” Notice the words “us” and “our.” Their mention indicates that we’re to confess our sins together.  Additionally, he commanded us to “confess your sins to one another.”

Having examined ourselves for self-righteous attitudes and behaviors, let’s make sure we’re confessing our sins to God together, and to each other. If you’re a leader of Christians, make sure the group you lead is doing this together regularly. 

3. Let’s Accept Slander

People in the Bible were hurt for their faithfulness to God. Moses, David, Isaiah, Elijah, Jeremiah. . . Abel. . . Jesus. . . Should they have been defensive and whined about it?  

Instead, 1 Peter 4:14 says, “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” Verbal attacks that against us, because we identify with Christ, are actually something that the Spirit of God uses to grant us greater communion with Christ. In other words, if we accept verbal attacks, we have the opportunity to rejoice in Jesus more. So, let’s accept slander. It’s an opportunity to fellowship with Christ. 

4. Let’s Engage Outsiders

It was an absolutely great exercise to ask unbelievers how they’d define judgmental. When I did so, I also asked them about their personal experiences of being judged. I heard a lot of sad stories. I also got to talk about Jesus with people—and will hopefully continue to have those opportunities. 

Because most people think we’re judgmental, we have a great opportunity to ask people about that pain point. So why not do that? See what doors God opens for the gospel! Ask people how they might define “judgmental.” Ask if they think Christians are judgmental, since statistics show that most people do. 

And brother; sister: If you have been unkind, unsympathetic, self-righteous, partial— to any unbeliever or believer—ask for forgiveness. Tell them you’ve sinned against them and against God. Show them that God, in Christ, justifies the ungodly. And if you’re really brave, ask them if you’ve come off that way. May God glorify Christ Jesus in those conversations. 

Derek Joseph

Having worked on staff with Cru for ten years and serving for seven years as a Bible teacher in China, Derek has a unique perspective when it comes to global outreach. Currently, he is utilizing that passion by serving at a local church in Zionsville, Indiana.

Share Page

Contact Form